Socialism and Christianity in Early Twentieth-Century America
Despite an anti-religious reputation and the anti-religious worldview of many members, the American Socialist movement held a primarily religious and moral attraction for a small but highly articulate group of American Christians of diverse religious tradition. This study explores the dramatic and at times dangerous lives of individuals who found in the vibrant, growing socialist movement before World War I the grounds for hope that the biblical ideals of human worth and economic justice would at last be fulfilled. Its subjects are male and female, black and white, native- and foreign-born, clergy and lay people, and products of Christian traditions ranging from African-American Baptist to Episcopalian. Readers will find not Milquetoasts standing hesitantly on the sidelines, but Christians with an unequivocal commitment to the complete socialist program who made major contributions to socialist work as authors, political candidates, and party leaders.
Biographical chapters examine the interaction between their subjects' experiences amidst the suffering of an urban-industrial society and their religious commitments, the perspectives on the meaning of socialism they brought to their work for the Socialist Party of America, and their careers after war and the rise of communism shattered the socialist movement. These biographies and an introductory chapter on the wider relationships between religion and socialism in Progressive-era America demonstrate that Christians made quite substantial contributions to the party, and that, far from being a monolithic group, they spread out across the spectrum of socialist ideology and tactics. Other issues include attempts to spread socialism within the churches, the Socialist Party's debates over religion, Roman Catholic efforts to prevent Catholic workers' acceptance of socialism, and the ethical qualities that made socialism appealing to Christians.
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American Socialist Movement, Christianity, Socialism, Socialist Party of America, United States
Arts and Humanities | History
Dorn , J. H. (1998). Socialism and Christianity in Early Twentieth-Century America. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.